In response to a statement of claim, a defendant may file a cross-claim as well as a defence. A cross-claim is when the defendant makes a claim against you, or against another person.
What is a cross-claim?
The defendant may make a cross-claim because they believe you owe them money.
They can also make a cross-claim against another person known as a third party. They may do this because they say the third party owes you all or part of the money you are claiming. This is a common situation with car accidents involving more than two vehicles or involving vehicles that are not being driven by their owners.
If a cross-claim is filed, the defendant will be known as the 'cross-claimant' and either you or the third party will be known as the 'cross-defendant'. The file number will be the number given to your case when you filed your statement of claim.
When can a cross-claim be filed?
The cross-claim must be filed in the same time limit as filing a defence - 28 days from the date the defendant is served with the statement of claim form. Usually, the defendant will file both their defence and cross-claim at the same time.
If a cross-claim is not filed within this time, the defendant needs to get leave (permission) from the court to file a cross-claim form. The defendant would usually ask for leave at the pre-trial review.
Responding to a cross-claim
Cross-claims can be complicated. If you are served with a cross-claim, you should get legal advice.
If you receive a cross-claim you have similar options that the defendant has when responding to a statement of claim. For more information about those options, see The defendant's response.
If you disagree that you owe what is claimed, you can file a defence to the cross-claim.
A defence must be filed within 28 days of when you are served with the cross-claim. If you do not, the defendant can ask the court to make a default judgment against you.
If the defendant only files a cross-claim and does not file a defence within 28 days, you can ask the court to give you a default judgment on your claim. For more information, see Default judgment.
Case study - Amber, Badar and Cai
Amber is involved in an accident with Badar and Cai. Amber (the plaintiff) issues a statement of claim against Badar (the defendant), saying Badar caused the accident. Badar files a defence saying he was not at fault and files a Cross-Claim against Cai saying that Cai caused the accident and should pay for the damage to both Amber and Badar's cars.